History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Volume I, Page 285. The First Church at St. Johnsville.-- In this connection I should mention the fact that a German Reformed church was erected at St. Johnsville, then known as "Zimmerman's," in 1770. This structure was built of wood, was of good size, and stood not far from its burying ground, yet to be seen about a mile eastward of the village. It was finished with a sounding board, as were nearly all churches at that period. When erected it was intended also to benefit the Indians in the neighborhood, having seats for them and the slaves of the white citizens. This edifice was demolished about the year 1818, near which time a church was erected to subserve its purposes within the present village. Who first labored in this church I am unable to state. Rev. John Henry Dyslin, a man of good repute, was its pastor form 1790 to 1815, when he died. The Rev. David Devoe was its pastor from 1816 to 1830, during which time the old church was demolished, and the one in the village erected. The second edifice gave place to a new one constructed of brick in 1881.
Note: Some say 1725 (when the Germans first came to the valley) was probably the date of the first wooden church structure, and the second structure was built in 1756. Some say there could not have been a church before the war because there are no records of burning it during the war. Many churches were burned during the war, but other churches were not burned. Indian Castle and Fort Herkimer were not burned, for instance. 1788-1812 is the official time Rev. Dyslin served St. John's Reformed Church. We are sure the dominie began his ministry in 1788, the German church records begin in his handwriting on that date. For a more complete history of St. John's Reformed Church, check here. (ajberry) St. John's Reformed Church History
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